Eight same-sex couples married in Michigan last month during a brief window when gay marriage was legal asked a federal judge on Monday to force the state to recognize their nuptials and those of more than 300 other couples.
The couples married during an hours-long window on March 22 after a federal judge in Detroit struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and before a federal appeals court put the ruling on hold pending a state appeal.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder afterward acknowledged that the marriages were legal at the time they were entered, but said the appeals court stay meant that the state's ban, enacted in 2004 by a state constitutional amendment, was back in place.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the couples are eligible for federal benefits.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in the lawsuit filed in Detroit federal court it was unconstitutional for Michigan to take away the protections retroactively and to treat legally married gay couples differently than married heterosexual couples.
The lawsuit was filed the same day a federal judge in Cincinnati ruled that Ohio must recognize marriages performed outside that state and a "freedom to marry" initiative cleared the first step toward getting on Ohio's November ballot.
Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia now allow same-sex nuptials, a number that would be substantially increased if recent federal court rulings in Michigan, Utah, Texas and other states are upheld.
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